The long-awaited season 8, 5-episode special of The Flash has begun. The show is back in true The Flash fashion. There’s foreshadowing that Barry will end the world, a new mysterious villain, and the incredible power of…talking to villains to convince them not to kill you!
The first episode starts in the middle of an apocalypse set in 2031 Central City. Ominous new villain Despero narrates in the background. Everything is in flames, people are screaming, graffiti is painted on the walls, something terrible has happened. Despero says that no one around him has the strength to do what must be done, but he does. He clicks a button on his mysterious belt and vanishes.
The next scene opens up in the present day in a very mundane setting. Caitlyn and Barry are talking about how things are going while heading to the local coffee shop, Jitters. Suddenly, Barry has to run to save passengers from two crashing trains. He saves everyone within 12 seconds and even has time to add some oat milk to Caitlyn’s coffee. Barry has clearly gotten faster and more confident, and things seem to be going well. We switch over to Iris looking fabulous and killing it at The Central City Citizen. She has a popular podcast, tons of new employees and readers. She’s so busy that she promotes Allegra to supervising editor. Outside of work and superhero duties, Barry and Iris are more than ready to start their family. Everything is so settled and normal, it all seems like they are getting their happily ever after.
Much more happens. Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, comes to visit trying to figure out what he wants to do next. A gang of metas called The Royal Flush tries, and fails, to pull a cryptocurrency heist. Allegra struggles with her new position. Joe is nowhere to be seen, and is possibly dead. Despero appears asking where The Flash is, demanding to see him. When The Flash shows up, Despero says he plans to kill him so that he does not cause the end of the world in 10 years.
Barry and Ray defeat him for the time being, but Barry can’t get Despero’s words out of his head. Barry later meets up with Despero to prove to him that he could not end the world because he cares too much about it. Despero reads his mind and is surprised to find honor and truth in him. Barry then takes off his mask revealing his face to show that Despero can trust him. Despero decides to give Barry a week to convince him that he is honorable, and if he does not Despero will kill him.
This episode is not incredibly eventful but it does a great job of setting us up for the rest of the season. Despero is not the best villain/anti-hero in the series. Between the very clear CGI and the lack of background knowledge and build up for his character, he feels forgettable and temporary right now. Barry’s suit looks cheap, giving a Party City costume look as does a lot of the fight scenes in this episode. The Royal Flush gang feels pretty corny from the beginning, making their part of the episode a little uninteresting. But The Flash’s strongpoint has always been the characters and their relationships with one another.
This season feels like all of the characters are leveling up with more confidence, more responsibilities, and more speed. As usual, the main characters were my favorite part of the episode, and with most of those characters being of color this season, I hope this is also a chance for things to level up on not only the show but behind the scenes.
Fans of The Flash may know about the racism that Candice Patton, who plays Iris West-Allen, has received since the show started. She recently went into more detail about it and how her mental health has been during an Instagram Live. Candice has spoken about the hate that she’s received for 7 seasons and the CW is just now doing something. Hopefully, all the people of color on the cast including Candice see that change behind the scenes. As far as writing so far this season seems to be better than season 7, which many fans did not enjoy as much as the previous 6. Season 8 is The Flash’s last chance to once again be the show fans loved in the beginning. Fingers crossed Armageddon delivers on that.
For more from Sydney, check out her list of bisexual characters you need to know!